Dating to the middle of the 18th-century, this slave trade bracelet is a fantastic artifact!
Bracelets such as this were highly prized in Western Africa from 1600-1860. The style and make of this kind of bracelet was indigenous to most western African tribes, and was utilized not only as jewelry, but as portable wealth. During the era of the slave trade, European traders would meet with African tribesmen and barter for all manner of goods for bracelets such as this. One bracelet of this size would purchase a cow. Four would purchase a musket. Eight would purchase a wife - or a human being. It is difficult for us to conceive of such a thing today, but it did happen. However, the passing of generations has weathered the reputation of jewels such as this. Today, these bracelets have become highly desirable for collectors of both African-American historical artifacts and tribal jewelry.
This bracelet is one of the older types, measuring 3 1/4" outside diameter, 2 5/8" inside diameter, and 1 1/8" wide. It is hand-cast from bronze in the lost-wax process. The outside of the bracelet is decorated with hatch marks in a diamond motif. The body of the bracelet is rounded. One can see the cast marks on the inside of the bracelet; the outside has a smooth finish.
This 260-year-old bracelet has built up an untouched, museum-grade patina. The surface of the bracelet is deep brown with small patches of green oxidation. The decoration is still visible and crisp. As an example of tribal art, this bracelet is highly wearable today, and looks quite handsome on the arm!
Weighing in at 161 grams (that's 5.6 ounces), this is a substantial bracelet that is suitable either for display or wear. It is in intact, museum-grade condition, without cracks or damage, and authenticity is guaranteed. If you collect African tribal jewelry, this early example will make a superb addition to your collection. I will be listing one other trade bracelet this week, but not another like this - do not miss it!
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